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Preparing for an Interview

Put your best foot forward

If you have written a great CV and employers are starting to invite you for an interview there is a lot that you can do to prepare yourself before your first meeting. Here are a few tips to making sure that it goes as smoothly as possible…

Do your homework on the company

This is so important. You need to be able to demonstrate that you have researched the business and can talk about it when asked questions. At the very least, make sure that you have read through the company website and if you have been presented by a recruitment consultancy, get the recruiter to brief you on the hiring manager and the business.

If you are interviewing with a retail business or restaurants, visit one of their shops and familiarise yourself with them. This can go down really well when you meet with your interviewer.

Make sure that you are presentable

It is generally better to be over-dressed than under-dressed for an interview. Try and look as smart as possible and ensure that you are clean and tidy. If you are going through a recruiter, you can ask them about the dress code for the interview and seek their advice.

Don’t ramble on

It is very easy when you are nervous to try and fill the silences by talking continually. This can be frustrating for the individual that is interviewing you and has lots of questions to get through. Try and keep your answers succinct. You can always ask the person sat across the table from you if they need any more information from you.

If you can bare the excruciating embarrassment of having yourself filmed, perhaps get a friend or family member to ask you questions and film your answers. You will be able to see your body language and whether you are keeping answers to the point. If you can practice in this way, the interview should be a walk in the park.

Know your CV inside out

It sounds silly as your CV is all about you but a lot of people may have written their CV years ago and have just updated the last job that they have done. It can be very easy to forget some of the things that you have done. The person interviewing you is likely to have trawled through your profile and will have lots of questions about it and you need to be able to answer them.

It is also important that any other information that is in the public domain backs up what it on your CV. If your LinkedIn profile looks very different to the CV that you have sent an employer then this may raise a few concerns.

Learn from every interview

Some people are brilliant at interviews and seem to get offered every job that they have a meeting for. For most of us, interviews are like anything else, you can be a bit rusty and it can take a little bit time to hone your interview skills.

Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t have a great interview. You should treat it as a learning experience. When you come out of an interview, write down the questions that you were asked and your responses while they are fresh in your memory. Even if it went well you are likely to replay it in your head and think of things that you wish you had said. The more you do this, the better prepared you will be for future interviews.

Feedback is a gift

Employers are not always forthcoming with open and honest feedback. This may be partly due to fears around it coming back to haunt them. Where you can get constructive feedback, try and take it on board. You may not agree with it but for some reason, that opinion was formed and it could have been an innocuous comment that resulted in you not getting the job.

Do the journey beforehand to see how long it takes to get there

There is nothing worse than arriving late for an interview as you are instantly put on the back-foot. If you are able to see how long it takes you to get there at the time of day when you would be interviewing then that is even better.

You can make sure you know how to find where you are meeting and get a good feel for parking or public transport links if necessary. You might also be able to get an idea of what people wear to work as they come in and out of the offices and dress accordingly on the day.  

Make sure that you have lots of good examples of your work

Some interviews may be very informal in nature but you should never assume that this will be the case. A lot of employers will conduct a competency based interview where they are looking for specific examples of your experience.

You should be able to provide detail on exactly what you did and how you added value to the business and also what you learned from an experience. There is a real tendency for candidates to say at company X ‘we’ did this. Employers want to know specifically what you did and not that you were just a cog in the project. You should be able to talk about examples where you should initiative and were proactive. I have seen candidates kick themselves as they did not get the job for making it sound like they were just part of a team that did something. In actual fact they were leading it and this did not come across at interview.

Have questions to ask about the business

You know all that homework that you did on the business before your interview? A lot of the time you may wonder why you bothered as you will not get asked about it. When you get to the end of the interview and you are asked if you have any questions, it can be a good opportunity to show that you have researched the business properly. Try and think of a couple of things that you query but try not to trip the interviewer up by asking something that they won’t know the answer to!

If you feel comfortable asking then it can sometimes be a good idea to ask if they have any concerns about you or if there is any information that they feel is missing. If they have any concerns about you then it is often better to try and address them in the interview if possible.

Good luck from the team at Fetch Recruitment!

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